Ugh! It's just been one thing after another the past few months for the stable and enduring pair of peregrine falcons who claimed the much-watched nest atop the UC Berkeley Campanile tower. And now Grinnell, the male, was found dead in downtown Berkeley.
Things were looking bright again for Annie and Grinnell, the falcons who have successfully mated and hatched five broods on the tower in the last five years, just a few months after Grinnell was seriously injured in a fight with other falcons, and not long after Annie mysteriously went AWOL for two weeks. Annie had returned in early March, and as of just a couple days ago, she had laid her second egg in the tower nest
But now, the falcon watchers over in Berkeley reported on Twitter and Instagram today that Grinnell was just found dead. He was likely hit by a car, they said, given where he was found in downtown Berkeley.
"We are all deeply saddened to report that Grinnell was found dead in downtown Berkeley this afternoon. We are devastated and heartbroken," the group writes.
The fate of this clutch of eggs is likely doomed now, as peregrines tend to sit on the eggs cooperatively, with the male taking over so the female can go hunt, etc.
"Given the timing of this within the breeding season, it is doubtful that this nest will succeed with Annie alone," the Cal Falcons group says. "Over the next few days we will write a more complete remembrance of Grinnell."
In recent days, both Annie and Grinnell had been seen fending off interloper juveniles who had come checking out the nest, and that had been happening quite a bit in recent months.
A second-year female visited twice while Annie was out, going into the nest box both times. Here is the second visit. She is a threat to the eggs, but it looks like they're fine. Please remember, whatever happens, this is a young bird looking for a home.https://t.co/8tY7Ehi8Rz— CalFalconCam (@CalFalconCam) March 31, 2022
At the more volatile San Francisco falcon nest which was also, up until last year, monitored by a camera with a live internet feed, there was an exchange of males in 2020, with a younger male chasing off an older one and then successfully mating with the longtime female of the nest, Val. That situation ended badly when, after Val had been sitting on several non-viable eggs and at least one viable one, the one egg hatched, and the younger male falcon killed and ate his young, seeing it as prey.
Thankfully, that same falcon pair in 2021 successfully had a brood of four chicks, all of whom made it to fledgling stage as far as we know.
We'll update you, but now Annie will be left defending both her eggs and the Campanile nest by herself, and things may not go well. Nature can be too cruel!
Photo: Cal Falcons